Throwback Thursday: When a pope celebrated the wholesale slaughter of Protestants with a medal

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a short post that was originally published back on February 5, 2016 and has been revised.


In celebration of the slaughter of the Protestant Huguenots in Paris on the eve of St. Bartholomew’s feast day, August 23-24, 1572, pope Gregory XIII (aka Ugo Boncompagni) directed the pictured medal to be struck, which featured an “exterminating angel” striking the Huguenots and the caption, UGONOTTORUM STRAGES, (“Overthrow of the Huguenots”). Gregory XIII also commissioned three frescoes commemorating the massacre for the Sala Regia Hall at the Vatican, where they remain today. The estimated death toll varies, but some historians put the number of Protestants who were murdered in the violence that spread across France at 30,000. Those Protestants who survived the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and national “religiouscide” were persecuted in Catholic church-supported “dragonnades” and forced to flee to other nations.

Pope Gregory XIII

There’s no debate that both Protestant and Catholic European monarchs engaged in wars of expansion and political control, using religion as an excuse, but how is it that a pope, allegedly guided by the Holy Spirit and supposedly infallible in all important matters of faith and morals, could have celebrated the wholesale slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent victims? In addition, by sanctioning the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the pope was encouraging further violence against Protestants.

On Aug. 24, 1997, pope John Paul II offered a semi-apology for the Paris massacre (see here), but if every pope is infallible when acting as shepherd of the Catholic church, how could Gregory XIII have celebrated an event, which clearly violated the teachings of Jesus Christ? Why did the Catholic church wait 425 years before it apologized for this atrocity? What are Catholics to deduce when one pope apologizes for the actions of another pope?

Better to follow God’s Word in all things than to follow man-made religious institutions and traditions.

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”  Matthew 15:8-9

33 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: When a pope celebrated the wholesale slaughter of Protestants with a medal

  1. Reblogged this on Born Again and commented:
    “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Matthew 15:8-9

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, David! Famous convert to Catholicism, John Henry Newman once boasted, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant,” but I’ve actually found the opposite to be true.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, sister! Yup, popes JPII, Benedict, and Francis have all apologized for Catholic atrocities either authorized or approved by past popes. It should make Catholics scratch their heads.


    1. 👋🏻 Hiya!
      I did some frustrating indoors work today that pooped me out, so I’m now catching up on WordPress and contemplating doing the entire lawn with the leafblower. Hmm. Maybe tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah yes, the St Bartholomew’s day massacre. How many evangelicals would have heard of this, given the whitewashing of history? For that matter, how many would have heard of Canon 68 of the 4th lateran council??

    4th Lateran Council (1215)
    CANON 68
    Summary. Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province must be distinguished from the Christian by a difference of dress. On Passion Sunday and the last three days of Holy Week they may not appear in public.

    Text: In some provinces a difference in dress distinguishes the Jews or Saracens from the Christians, but in certain others such a confusion has grown up that they cannot be distinguished by any difference. Thus it happens at times that through error Christians have relations with the women of Jews or Saracens, and Jews and Saracens with Christian women. Therefore, that they may not, under pretext of error of this sort, excuse themselves in the future for the excesses of such prohibited intercourse, we decree that such Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province and at all times shall be marked off in the eyes of the public from other peoples through the character of their dress. Particularly, since it may be read in the writings of Moses [Numbers 15:37-41], that this very law has been enjoined upon them.

    Moreover, during the last three days before Easter and especially on Good Friday, they shall not go forth in public at all, for the reason that some of them on these very days, as we hear, do not blush to go forth better dressed and are not afraid to mock the Christians who maintain the memory of the most holy Passion by wearing signs of mourning.

    This, however, we forbid most severely, that any one should presume at all to break forth in insult to the Redeemer. And since we ought not to ignore any insult to Him who blotted out our disgraceful deeds, we command that such impudent fellows be checked by the secular princes by imposing them proper punishment so that they shall not at all presume to blaspheme Him who was crucified for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, SB! Most Catholics have no clue how institutionalized anti- Semitism was within the RCC. 1215 A.D.? Catholic darling, G.K. Chesterton was calling for the Jews of the U.K. to have to wear some type of identifiable clothing in the early 1900s.


      1. I am so grateful to the Lord for the ministry He has given you exposing these things .
        May your ministry change many and save lives through the ministry of the word and the Spirit .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, sister! The Lord has given me the desire to keep sorting through the muck and to shine a light on it and He protects me from its influence. Thank you for your prayers. I pray the Lord uses my weak efforts to reach lost Catholics and enlighten pro-ecumenism evangelicals.
        I am likewise grateful for your blog ministry of encouraging the saints. Your posts are always a blessed start to my day.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. TY!
        BTY, we just got done listening to the first 30 minutes of the Paul Washer sermon and my wife was so pleased as I knew she would be. Will finish it tomorrow p.m.

        Liked by 1 person

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